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Slade In Flame

Slade In Flame

30 Nov 1973
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Slade In Flame
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By 12stringbassist VINE VOICE on 15 Feb. 2007
Format: Audio CD
Considered by the majority of Slade fans to be their most accomplished release, Flame was the soundtrack to their film of the same name.

The film was later considered by Dave Hill to be a bit of a mistake, as it went a long way to confusing their fans as to the actual relationships within the band - some of the fans thought that Slade were the same band as the utterly fractured and constantly arguing Flame.

Perhaps it was because the band were actually far more convincing actors than they have ever really been given due credit for that this unfortunate state of play came about. Whatever....

The re-release of this album by the Salvo label sees the album presented with its original tracklisting intact.

As the album is regarded by many, including the band to be the band's supreme recorded achievement, it hasn't been tinkered with. Why alter something that's perfect? The releases immediately after this are contained on the Nobody's fools re-issue.

The much hoped for alternative version of 'This girl' - which would have been a competely valid addition to the disc - appears not to exist any longer,as it was only ever used for the short 'Undertakers' live segment in the film and was not retained after the film sound edits were completed and there are no alternative versions of other songs and no b-sides that didn't come from the soundtrack anyway to add to the track listing. It is doubtful that the performances by the sadly departed Alan Lake would need to be added to the soundtrack, as whatever else he was, he was not that fabulous a singer!
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Format: Audio CD
Review taken from promo copy kindly supplied by Union Square Music.

This is the soundtrack to what is most probably the best rock movie ever made, Slade In Flame. The year was 1974 and Slade had done most things by then, toured the world, had records straight into the charts at number 1 (the first time since the Beatles had done one decade earlier), number one albums and a movie was the next most logical move. However, fans were not ready or not expecting the movie that hit the cinema. Exposing the dark side to the music business was a shrewd and brave move. Most fans were expecting `a hard days' night type of comedy.

This soundtrack though was Slade tackling new areas. As the previous album had shown (Old, New, Borrowed and Blue), Slade were not just a one trick pony. Serious song writing is in evidence here. We start with the record that began the start of a slow decline of the bands fortunes, How Does It Feel. The annoying thing is that this is undoubtedly one of Holder/Lea best ever compositions. `Feel' was released as a single in 1975 and only made it to number 15 when fans went out and bought the album rather than the single. The track is used for the opening credits of the movie. Includes brass backing, superbly produced by the late Chas Chandler and is regarded by most as one of Slade's classiest tracks. Even Noel Gallagher has been heard to praise this beautiful balled. A slow piano led track that builds up as it goes on, Noddy had never done a better vocal performance than this. It still sends goose bumps down my neck.

We follow with a rocker, Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing. This is the fictitious groups (Iron Rod) first performance. Starts, with a nice drum intro from Don Powell.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
At last, together for the first time: The album AND the film.

I was living in the States when Slade made it big. When I left in 1970, they weren't on the radar and when I came back for my first visit to the UK in '74 they were huge, and this film had just come out. I bought the album and the novellisation and took them back to the States with me, loved them both and managed to get my hands on a couple of other albums (Old New Borrowed and Blue and Slayed?) before returning to the UK in '77 to find...they'd completely disappeared. I mean completely. The record shops I went to didn't even have their albums any more.

Anyhow...this is a great album, full of great big, full-throated tunes. The lead track, "How Does It Feel?" benefits from a brass section and a lovely, delicate flute, as well as Noddy Holder showing the more melodic side to his voice. There are hard rockers and upbeat pop songs, and it really shows off the songwriting ability of Lea and Holder. The film is great, too, a really undervalued and underrated gem. Downbeat and blackly funny, it charts the rise of a group from working in pubs and men's clubs to being taken on by a corporation as a branding exercise, processed, marketed and sold to the kids. Success, as you'd guess, comes at a personal price, particularly when their old manager still claims rights and can fight dirtier than any corporate suit. Surprisingly gritty (love the shots of the shuttered terraced houses, and the dialogue between Lea and Holder held over a urinal) and the band acquit themselves admirably, although you might need the subtitles on. This is the wide-screen version, too: the last time it was shown on UK TV, it was shown in a boxy ratio that looked a bit odd. I'd be hard pressed to call myself a Slade fan, but I'd recommend the film to anyone - it's great to see it presented together with the soundtrack.
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